Every single day, approximately 3,500 fatalities occur around the world because of road traffic accidents and crashes. Annually, the total hovers around 1.3 million people that are killed worldwide because of traffic safety issues and another 50 million people are injured. These statistics are certainly alarming, but the risks are not equal all around the world. To put it simply, lower to middle income countries are at the highest risk for a road traffic accident.
Of the countries with highest death rates, not all may be a realistic tourist destination for United States Citizens. At the top of the list is Eritrea, followed by Libya. While many US tourists may not frequently travel to these countries, other destinations such as Egypt and the United Arab Emirates are on the list and special care should be taken when traveling to these countries. Staying safe should be your number one priority while traveling to all the corners of the world.
Just because the top travel destinations for Americans were not on the top 20 list does not mean that extra precaution shouldn’t be taken while on vacation. For example, Mexico reports over 20,000 traffic deaths each year, while places like China and Thailand report approximately 100,000 annual traffic deaths. Being in a developed nation does not automatically guarantee your road safety.
In order to stay safe, there are a few basic things you can do while on vacation. Never walk through unfamiliar or unsafe roads, especially at night. Plan your route beforehand and make sure that the entire path is well-lit. In many countries you must pay special attention to find areas with sidewalks. You may not want to stand out as a tourist, but wearing bright clothing and a Safees reflector is the best way to ensure that you are seen at night and by foreign drivers.
It is instinctual and common sense to think that when it’s dark outside, pedestrians are at a greater risk for traffic accidents. While night time certainly poses a high risk for pedestrians, the highest number of pedestrian deaths actually occurs in the evening. People may think anytime before 9pm in the summer is clear for outside activities, but evening actually poses a greater threat than the dark of night.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 25% of the annual pedestrian deaths occurred between 6pm and 9pm. Compare that with 21% of accident occurrences between 9pm and midnight. That means that 46% of deaths occurred between 6pm and midnight. In light of these statistics extra precautions need to be taken starting at 6pm everyday.
So why is evening a riskier time of day for pedestrians than night time? Many factors contribute to add to the danger of this time of day. For one, drivers are typically returning from work and often in a rush. Stressed out by the workday and commuter traffic, drivers are less likely to be alert and slow down through residential streets.
Nevertheless, the biggest contributing factor is the simple fact that the sun is going down, but people act like it’s the middle of the day instead of the beginning of the night. Visibility decreases greatly and sometimes cars have yet to even turn on their headlights. Children play in the streets, hoping to get a few hours of neighborhood time with their friends before lights out. While children run around carefree as if it’s the afternoon, the level of visibility becomes less and less.
Those few hours when day turns to night catches the most people off guard. Combine that with lowered visibility levels and circumstances are ripe for an accident. However, there are ways to mitigate the risks that hide in the shadows of an otherwise lovely evening. Pedestrian traffic safety reflectors are the perfect way to safeguard against darkness conveniently. No need to change into brightly colored clothing, just clip one on to your belt or clothing and keep going.
While you should be as careful as you can when crossing the street, going for a run or biking around the neighborhood, the main obstacle all pedestrians must overcome is being seen by cars. All the precautions in the world won’t help if the car doesn’t see you. Treat the evening hours as if it were night time and make sure you are seen by cars, wear reflectors and be vigilant and look around!
From Tanzania to Indonesia to Australia to Spain, concerned citizens will gather during the week of May 6-12 in an effort to increase the safety of roads around the world. Communities are organizing walks to take place throughout that week to bring the message to local officials as well as the worldwide community. Through a few simple steps, you too can be a part of this monumental week for safety.
To start out with, you can check the Global Road Safety Week website to see if any walks have officially registered in your area. If that is the case, contact the organizers and find out how you can be a part of this established walk. Every walk needs all the support it can get and your footsteps will not go unnoticed.
If you find that there are no walks currently scheduled in your area, you can step up and organize a walk of your own. Banners and sign boards are available that read ‘Our Goal Is Safe Roads For All’. Just log on to the website and download the file that is already formatted for printing. You’ll need to gather friends and family together and spread the word. It shouldn’t be that hard to gain support for such a meaningful walk.
After you’ve chosen a date and a route, register your walk with The Long Short Walk to officially be a part of the global walk. During the walk be sure to take plenty of pictures and upload them directly to the website to spread your message to a captive audience. All of the pictures and videos will be the pillar of Global Road Safety Week. Together we can truly achieve safe roads for all.
Join the Zenani Mandela Campaign in a global effort to improve safety conditions, all without ever leaving your own neighborhood. ‘The Long Short Walk’ was created to reveal the reality of hazardous walking conditions and influence governments as they establish sustainable development goals. UN Global Road Safety Week is coming up from May 6 - 12, 2013 and even if you aren’t lobbying international governments firsthand, you can do your part by joining the digital fight to create a safer world.
Governments need to be aware of the dangerous walking conditions that exist in residential and urban communities. Too often government officials ride in a private car or live in areas that aren’t subject to the same risks and cautions as lower income neighborhoods. If we unite together, we can take government officials on ‘The Long Short Walk’ to see the real life conditions that exist around the globe.
So what can you do to contribute to the safety campaign? The first step is the easy and fun part -- just go for a walk! When you come upon a dangerous intersection or road condition that poses risks for pedestrians, snap a picture or short film. Be mindful not to put yourself in danger and keep plenty of distance from the hazard as you take the picture or video.
You can download a signboard from the campaign that emphasizes the motto of ‘Our goal is safe roads for all’, and highlight it in the picture. If you have a group with you, you can even upgrade to a larger banner to make the message loud and clear to governments worldwide. Feel free to get creative if you have your own message you’d like to send to officials.
After you have taken the picture or video, upload it appropriately so the Zenani Mandela Campaign can use it in the final edit of ‘The Long Short Walk’. To do so, log into your flickr account or set up if you don’t have one already. Upload all of the photographs that you think display the safety issues of your neighborhood and join ‘The Long Short Walk’ Group to submit your photographs.
Change happens when citizens engage all levels of government and ‘The Long Short Walk’ is targeting the international political sphere. While this is no substitute for a local campaign to improve safety, one photograph or video could make the difference in the global landscape of developing nations. So print a signboard, go for a walk and contribute to safety conditions worldwide.
Dogs love spending time outside as much as possible, especially when the family is out in the yard. What that means is that the dog is in prime position to run into traffic and depending on the size of the dog, it can extremely difficult for the driver to see the dog. During the day can be dangerous enough, but at night your dog is particularly at risk because of limited visibility.
If you live in a high traffic area, your dog is especially in need of being seen at night. You may take plenty of precautions including wearing bright clothing and only walking on well-lit routes, but that doesn’t mean you’ve covered the safety of your dog. Take a look through the following checklist to see if your dog is at risk and what you can do to change that.
What is the color of the dog’s coat? It shouldn’t be a surprise that dogs with dark coats are harder to see, especially at night. That doesn’t mean light dogs are in the clear as the reality is that an animal in the dark is tough to see.
What is the size of the dog? Smaller dogs are often unseen by cars. Most dogs are not tall enough to reach the window and windshield so consider them completely out of range of the driver’s sight.
What type of breed is the dog? Some breeds are more naturally inclined to chase, catch and kill game. While a car might not be the same thing, check your breed’s nature to know how to respond in residential areas.
What is the temperament of the dog? It’s very likely that your dog is one of the majority that love a good car chase. If your dog has a natural inclination to run after cars, an accident is only a matter of time. For more tips on stopping this behavior consult the following resource by WebMD.
Some of the ways to stay safe as a human can't translate to a dog. Ever tried to tell a dog to choose a well lit route and wear bright clothing? These things don't apply to a dog. However there is a simple solution that affixes directly onto the collar and is safe for dogs. Reflectors like the ones offered by Safees can make it 500 times easier to see your dog at night. Some things are beyond training and that’s where Safees comes in to provide that extra bit of protection when your dog needs it most.
Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death worldwide for young people between 15 and 25 years and among the top three causes of death for people aged between 5 and 44 years.
Low- and middle-income countries have the highest burden: over 90% of all deaths globally due to road traffic accidents occur in countries where the majority of people walk and cycle to and from work or use overcrowded public transport means.
This is why Haukeland University Hospital (HUH) in Bergen, Norway, and Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe and the NRSCM have worked together with Rieber Foundation and the Norwegian Council for Road Safety to promote pedestrian and cyclist traffic safety reflectors in Malawi. Already 40 000 reflectors have been distributed.
Six road traffic accidents on average were registered every day in Malawi in 2010. Three of these accidents involved a pedestrian, and accident involved a bicyclist. Approximately 1,000 deaths were recorded the same year. Unfortunately, the World Health Organisation (WHO) suspects that the true number of road deaths in most African countries is up to four times higher than the official numbers due to incomplete data recording. If this is true in Malawi, there could be as many as 4,000 deaths due to road traffic accidents annually and a much larger number being injured, many ending up with permanent disabilities. In Malawi, pedestrians and cyclists account for two-thirds of all road deaths.
Pedestrians and bicyclists have a 90% chance of surviving a car crash at 30 km/h or below but less than a 50% chance of surviving impacts of 45 km/h or above.
Around 75% of the recorded road traffic accidents in Malawi happen in the dark or in the reduced light conditions at dusk or dawn. Most pedestrians are unaware of how difficult it is for the driver of a vehicle to see them in the dark. They are likely to think that, since they can see the lights of the car, the driver will also be able to see them. If a driver is driving at a speed of 80 km/h, he or she will only see a pedestrian one second before the car passes her/him. It does not give the driver time to react and it doesn't give the vulnerable road user much chance to survive.
Wearing a reflector in reduced light conditions reduces the chance of being run down by 85%. Our hope and goal is that after 3-5 years the idea should have caught on and sufficient awareness will have created a demand for reflectors. Hopefully, one will then see sustainable supplies of reflectors coming onto the Malawian market from organisations, government initiatives and possibly local businesses using reflectors in marketing.
Do wear a helmet every time you ride. You may have heard this 100 times before and with good reason! It doesn’t matter whether you are just riding around the block or a few houses away, all of the risks of injury still apply. Wearing a helmet is at the top of this list because it should be the beginning of your safety routine.
Do choose a route that avoids heavy traffic. Sure, when you are in a car the main roads are the most convenient choice. However, taking the extra 5 minutes to follow an alternative route with less traffic is well worth the time. Commuters should pay particular attention to traffic patterns and plan accordingly.
Do follow the traffic signs and lights. It can be tempting when riding down residential streets to avoid traffic signs and lights altogether. Letting down your guard for even a minute could be the difference in your safety so pay attention to the traffic signs and lights no matter where you are riding.
Do signal any turns. Clear communication with drivers is paramount to ensure your safety. Using the proper signaling techniques will not only let the driver know your next move, but will make your presence more noticeable in the wake of drivers not used to driving alongside bicycles.
Do everything you can to be seen, especially at night. Make sure you have reflectors on the front and back tire of your bicycle. Wearbright colors and affix a Safees reflectors to your clothing or helmet for increased visibility.
Don’t ride on the sidewalk or crosswalk. By law, you should be riding on the street to begin with. However, if you ride on sidewalks or through crosswalks whenever convenient for your route, you put yourself in harm’s way as cars are less likely to be looking for you there.
Don’t ride against traffic. When you ride against traffic, you give the car less time to see you and react to you. You should follow the flow of traffic and never go down a one way if you are headed the opposite direction.
Don’t pass on the right. Cars expect to be passed on the left side. Though it may be tempting to sneak between a car on the road and parked cars at a traffic light, the driver will not see you and will put yourself directly in his/her blind spot.
Don’t stop in a driver’s blind spot. It may seem obvious, but it is easy forget when riding. Always pay attention to where the car is and where you are in relation to the driver’s sight line.
Don’t assume the car sees you. Drivers are typically on high alert for other cars and pedestrians, but struggle to notice bicycles along the road. Never assume a driver has seen you. For added visibility, wear bright colors and a Safees traffic safety reflector at night.
though your parents are always reminding you to wear your bicycle
helmet you may wonder what the point is. Maybe you don’t like how
bicycle helmets look or you feel like a little kid wearing a helmet
when you’re out on your bike. The truth is that a helmet is
sometimes the only thing that can save your life if you are ever
involved in a bicycle accident. Below are a few facts about wearing a
bike helmet that will keep you safer each time you decide to take
your bike out for a spin.
to Bicyclinginfo.org there were 618 deaths in 2010 that were
attributed to bicycle and motor vehicle accidents. Of those 618, 13
percent were under the age of 16. Studies have proven that the use of
bicycle helmets can reduce the risk of severe brain injuries by 88
doesn’t matter what a helmet looks like on the outside as long as
it’s been certified by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
This means that the skull and bones helmet you picked out is just as
likely to keep you safe as the boring beige one your parents like as
long as you always wear it. That’s one point for skulls and bones!
fit of a helmet is crucial to keeping you safe. A helmet should fit
perfectly on top of your head; it should not be able to move back and
forth or side to side easily. The straps should be secure under your
chin without being too tight or loose. The helmet should never pinch
or feel uncomfortable, because this means that it is too small.
While pedestrian accidents can happen at any time of the day or night, there are certain times that are more dangerous than others. According to Safekids.org 42 percent of childhood pedestrian accidents occur between 4 p.m. and 7:59 p.m. Peak times generally occur right after school and during dusk or before nightfall.
It makes sense that most injuries would occur after kids get out of school and are outside playing with their friends and walking around town. While the news may not be surprising it is still disturbing to think that so many accidents happen at very specific times of the day. However, it is possible to cut down on the number of pedestrian accidents that occur during peak times and other times too. Following basic safety precautions can go a long way towards eliminating pedestrian accidents. These safety measures can include crossing the street only at crosswalks, wearing safety reflectors so that drivers can see you as the sky gets darker, and never running out into the middle of the street for any reason.
Try to keep these safety rules in mind at all times of the day, but especially during the peak times when childhood pedestrian accidents are more likely to occur.
Take a look at Safees video to see just how hard it can be for drivers to see people in the dark.